March 30th, 2011
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birthmomI was nineteen years old when I found out I was pregnant. I was single and living away from home at the time. The birth father and I had been dating for two years on and off. When I told him I was pregnant he suggested I get an abortion. I remember his words being ‘I just want this to all go away.’ Those words stung and I knew I could never consider having an abortion. After I realized our relationship was going nowhere, I moved to AZ to live with my brother and his family. It was in AZ that I had a firm answer to my prayers to place my baby for adoption.

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I looked at many family profiles and felt I had found the perfect parents for my little butterfly. I will never forget the day she was born. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was, but in my heart I knew she was not mine to keep. She belonged to this family and I was grateful they could give her, at that time, what I could not. So much joy and pain filled my heart and soul. At times, I could feel every ounce of my body aching to hold her.

My husband and I actually started dating while I was pregnant. He held my hand every step of the way. He was there for me when I needed to cry or scream. He suffered threw my outburst of emotions. He supported my decision to place and continues to support me everyday.

We are now blessed to have three beautiful children of our own. They all know that they have a sister, who mommy placed for adoption. We have many conversations and there are many questions about my little butterfly and where she is.

Not long after I placed, I started Birth Mother Baskets.

At first it was a small service project to do for Christmas. I wanted to show support to other birth mothers and let them know it’s ok to talk about their placement, to be proud of their decision. I wanted the birth mothers to have something they could take home with them, after they placed. I didn’t want them to go home with empty arms. “I will never forget the car ride home, after placement, with that empty car seat and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness. The pain was unbearable.” I thought of a gift basket full of items, just for the birth mother, would show her that she is not alone. I took all the resources I had at that time, which wasn’t much, and called around to every local business that I thought might donate. My small goal of filling 20 baskets became 60. I was thrilled with the response that I received. I delivered each basket to a local hospital or adoption agency.

It’s been almost eleven years since I placed and not a day goes by that I don’t think about my little butterfly and what she might be doing. Yes, there is still pain, but I know I made the right choice. The Birth Mother Baskets didn’t stop after that first Christmas. We have filled almost 400 baskets since I started. Every time I fill another basket I think about my little butterfly. I pray, she will, someday know of the countless hours I spent serving other birth mothers, with her as my strength.  www.birthmotherbaskets.blogspot.com

Written by: Gina Crotts

Photo Credit: Gina Crotts

8 Responses to “Birth Mother Baskets”

  1. iphigenia says:

    Good for Gina, hats off to you for taking the time and energy to gived back to birth mothers. I think that waht you are doing is so important, especiallly for those birth mothers who do not have a support system to help them with the anguish and emptiness that will fill their hearts. I am sure that your kind gesture would give those girls comfort to know that someone appreciates and celebrates and understands their situation. Great job!

    I am a birth mother too. I understand the grief and hollow despair and longing to hold your child. I have been fortunate enough to reunite with my child now that she is an adult and it is the most beautiful thing. My wish for you is that you will one day learn about your beloved shild and get to meet her. Are you looking for her/him? Or perhaps he/she is still a child. My heart goes out to you :)

  2. Willa S. says:

    That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Gina.

  3. Margie C says:

    What a wonderful thing you have done Gina. I love the thought of those baskets and that you give that gift to other women. The thing I like the most is that you’re sharing your story and wisdom as well.

  4. jenkinghorn says:

    This is so beatiful to me. I wish you had been around 18 years ago this May for me! Your story brought tears to my eyes. The worst part of all was driving home without my baby. So lonely, I will never forget it. If I had had some things to hold onto to remind me that I was a beautiful and important person too, and not just a great empty incubator for someone elses joy it would have helped a great deal. I was lucky enough to have an open adoption so I never lost touch with my daughter, but a day never went by that I did not think of her and miss her too. Those first few hours home after walking away from her were some of the bleakest most sad times I have ever or will ever experience. Missing her, and her father so desperately was an amazingly hard thing to get through and I just know your idea would have helped. How wonderful what you do is.

  5. AnneMarie says:

    Gina; In 1998, my 15 year old daughter informed me she was pregnant. I was divorced, in a new city and a new job. My daughter and I decided the best thing for her baby would be adoption, (I have another daughter that I had adopted in 1976, so we knew what a positivie experience it is for everyone). Like you said, the hardest thing I ever did was leave the hospital the next morning and see the parent’s car parked next to mine with the car seat in the back. Two of my co-workers called that night and wanted to come visit me and my daughter, we were exhausted and said no. They came over anyway with a basket for us. Chocolates, strawberries, bath oils, lotions, just nice little things to make us feel better. It was wonderful.
    My daughter is still in touch with the adoptive parents, they exchange letters twice a year, we get pictures of my grandson and school reports.
    I now have 9 other grandchildren, but I will always remember the wonderful basket from my co-workers, and how they thought of the birth mother and grandmother.
    Thank you also for thinking of them.
    A very proud adoptive mom and grandmom of an adopted little boy.

  6. bains3401 says:

    I love your idea of the baskets.
    I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant. The birthfather wanted nothing to do with me, and my family lived half way across the country. Wtih no support, I chose adoption. The agency helped me choose a family, I would call it a semi open adoption. I interviewed a few families, and felt Bob and Sue were the best choice.

    I knew I wasn’t able to care for my son, but I also knew I wanted to keep him in the worst way. Like most birth mothers, I loved (and still love) my child. I went through a ton of emotions and still do 20 years later. Will he understand how much I love him? Will he forgive me? Will he want to meet me some day?

    Bob and Sue sent me a letter and pictures once per year until Brad turned 18. It took Brad til he was 20 to contact me, first by letter. I was elated! We exchanged letters and emails until I made the first phone call. We agreed this was all about him and how he got to call the shots as to where the relationship goes. I’m a psychiatric nurse by trade, so I set up some pretty clear boundaries when we first started talking. Those boundaries have now become cloudy and hard to maintain, as I want him to be a part of my family. I want to put my arms around him and never let him go. We both have found this a wonderful, difficult, and exciting journey.

    This has certainly turned my world upside down, and his. I went through a long grieving process, about 3 months after we talked. Finally letting go of all the guilt and pain I held in for 20 years. Nobody wants to hear the story of the birthmother, we were meant to keep quiet and disappear.
    Now, about 9 months later, he is feeling very overwhelmed and wants to slow down or even stop contact. He is feeling guility that he shares and does things with me that he doesn’t do with his mother. I’m struggling with finding my place in his life– I’m not his mom, who am I? I know in time we will work this out, he’s young and has a lot of growing up to do. He has not met my husband, children, or any other member of my family. This has and will continue to be a journey.
    Brad says since he can remember, his parents talked about adoption and always told him how much I loved him. I’m glad have the opportunity to tell him myself, face to face.

    I did get an opportunity to speak at an adoption conference on a birth parent panelthis year. I was able to tell my story to adoptive and pre-adoptive parents. Adoption now is so different than it was 20 years ago, which is a good thing. Birth parents definitely have more of a voice.

  7. Mel says:

    Oh my sweet Gina! You are telling my story (without the baskets part) as I was 19 when I went through the same thing, felt the same way, and still do today. I also have three children, and they know they have a sister too. My first born is now 19 and we have yet to meet face to face, but I found her just this past February. I have missed her immensely, but oddly now that I know she is alive and well, yet not LOonnnnging to see or know me I don’t feel quite the immense pain that I had before.

    I can’t wait to go check out your site. What a wonderful mission! I can completely remember that gulf of emptiness that permeated my soul when I left the hospital that day. I ABSOLUTELY felt like I was living a lie. I remember feeling miserably unrecognized for the miracle that had just happened; a new life had just entered this world through my body… and no one cared…

    THANK You for what you are doing with the baskets. What a joy you are~!

    Melody~

  8. Thank you, all of you, for your wonderful comments and feedback! I am truly touched and reminded once again that all the hard work that I put into the Birth Mother Baskets is worth it! Thank you so much for your support!

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